4 Tips for Compiling Everyday Sermon Illustrations

Illustrations play a big role in our preaching. Every week we get behind the pulpit with a sermon we have spent many hours crafting. We pray that God will use us and our words to further his Kingdom.

One way you can help people understand the key principles and applications of God’s Word is to have clear and powerful illustrations. By default some of the best illustrations are going to come from the true stories of your life and the lives around you.

Here are some tips on compiling the every day stories into sermon illustrations:

Document Everyday Stories As Soon As Possible

Here at RookiePreacher we use Evernote for many aspects of sermon preparation. My favorite way to use Evernote is to document everyday stories that will be potential illustrations. Even tiny things that happened at breakfast, or on a run, or at the grocery store can later clearly and powerfully help communicate God’s Word to people as a sermon illustration.

Find a way to document everyday stories. Even if you are not and do not want to use Evernote to do this maybe you can use the notes app on your phone or a pocket notebook or any way that this best works for you.

Find a Way to Sort Them by Categories

One of the main reasons I love Evernote to compile these everyday stories is that I can easily sort the stories by category. All I have to do is tag the potential illustration as something I could see myself using it for in the future. This way when I need an illustration on contentment I can just go to that tag and see everything I have compiled from my everyday life as contentment. This is a powerful feature to have.

If you do not use Evernote still try to find a way to sort your stories by category. It may be as easy for you as having twenty sections in your notebook labeled for different things that you then write down your stories in.

Become a People Watcher

Observing people will give you a lot more everyday story material for you illustrations. You can see covert acts of kindness or generosity. You can see an everyday encounter between a parent and child. You can see many things when you are observant; use this to your future sermon’s advantage.

Engage with those Around you Often

Of course we have many reasons to engage with the people around us other than working on sermon prep but the more often we engage the more clear and powerful stories we will have from our personal life to communicate God’s Word to people.

How do you Compile Everyday Illustrations?

Join the conversation and let us know. You can do so on social media: Join our Facebook Group, tweet us, or post on our Facebook Page.

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Written by Joe Hoagland

Joe is a pastor at Rise Church in Marion, Oh. He is married to his awesome wife Jenna and they have one daughter Aryella.

He loves to lead people to Jesus and preach God's word.

You can often times find Joe hiking, camping, writing, reading, or enjoying technology.


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  1. I am blessed by what you have shared on illustrations.
    I look forward to learning more from you.

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